The Wilbury Theatre Group proudly presents The Olneyville Expo: A Celebration of Olneyville Past, Present, and Future. Created by Jesse Hawley,
James Stanley, and Resident Playwright Darcie Dennigan, The Olneyville Expo is being presented as part of The Providence Fringe Festival and the Woonasquatucket River Greenway Arts Project in Olneyville's Donigian Park as free programming July 25, 26 and 27 from 7-9 p.m.
Produced by The Wilbury Theatre Group in collaboration with the City of Providence Department of Art, Culture, Tourism , and with support from WaterFire Providence, TROOP, and major grants by the Rhode Island Council for the Humanitiesand the Rhode Island Foundation, The Expo is a unique theatrical event celebrating the history, culture and community of the Olneyville neighborhood of Providence.
Borrowing both the variety format and the ethics of education and uplift from 19th expositions, chautauquas and worlds fairs, The Olneyville Expo brings together community groups, historians, ecologists, storytellers, artists, performers, engineers and artisans to create a collaborative portrait of the space we share that is part lecture series, part variety show, part dance party, and an eclectic bilingual performance by, for, and of the people of Olneyville.
"I think the state of the world right now – this climate crisis, the hate-mongering toward immigrants and people of color – requires huge acts of solidarity and community," says Darcie Dennigan, Resident Playwright at The Wilbury Group and one of the creators of the event, "and I hope that's exactly what The Olneyville Expo will be. Come to be entertained, yes, but also come because it's a chance to get to know your neighbors better and to support an event that strives to be as inclusive and local and egoless as possible."
"When the city invited us to participate in the Woonasquatucket River Greenway Arts Project over a year ago, we went to work imagining a theatrical event that would celebrate our community as much as it would engage it," adds Wilbury Artistic Director Josh Short. “In the hands of Jesse, James and Darcie, The Olneyville Expo has grown beyond our wildest dreams. Together they've broken new ground in what community-driven theatre looks like in Rhode Island, and we couldn't be more excited to share this experience with our neighborhood next week."
Part lecture series, part variety show, part dance party, The Olneyville Expo will be an eclectic bilingual performance hosted by a Wilbury Artists Phoenyx Williams, Sarah Leach and Marcel Mascaro with performances by the Project 401 dance collective and music by Elementary. Before it begins, Ray Two Hawks Watson, Pomham Sachem of the Mashapaug Nahaganset Tribe, will offer an acknowledgment of the land that the park stands on, and lead everyone in an Algonquin welcome song. Artist and Olneyville farmer Matt Tracy will do live map-making – tell him where you live and see your place on the map by night's end. And then the next generation of theatre and dance performers kicks us off into high gear. Iglesia Puerta del Refugio's youth dancers will do their special routine on Thursday night. On Friday night, Téatro Écas' D'Abbate School theatre students, led by Laura M. Espinel, will present The bird Tari and the crocodile, a bilingual puppet show with marionette manipulated by children. And on Saturday, the now famous Manton Avenue Projectwill present an original work by and starring kids. Afterwards and in between, community leader Alvaro Moraleswill do his dazzling sleight of hand, Raffiniwill tell her story of Providence matriarchs, and artists and scientists will show us what's beneath the surface of the Woonasquatucket River (as it flows just feet from the Expo tent), and the young hip hop talents of Blue Wave Poeticswill close out the night with music to leave you dancing – and much more all free.
Performances of The Olneyville Expo will conclude on Saturday, July 27 at 9:30 p.m. with the Woonasquatucket River Greenway Arts Project Community Procession produced by The Steel Yard through our neighborhood streets, and ending at a new sculpture and lighitng installation by Barnaby Evans and WaterFire Providence. Community members are then encouraged to join the event organizers and artists at the WaterFire Arts Center for the FRINGEPVD Closing Party and Awards Ceremony.
For more information about The Olneyville Expo, visit fringepvd.org/olenyville-expo. For more about the Woonasquatucket River Greenway Arts Project, visit artsculturetourism.com/wrga.